Friday, October 18, 2013

Free GP care for young children brings us closer to free GP care for all - Doherty

Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Regina Doherty, has welcomed the inclusion of free GP care for children aged five and under in Budget 2014, ,saying the measure brings us a step closer to the introduction of free GP care for all. Deputy Doherty added that the Budget contains a number of family friendly measures, which will come as a relief to thousands of young families across Meath. 

“The announcement of free GP care for children aged five and under, as part of the Budget, is great news for young families across Meath. With GP fees averaging approximately €50 a visit, this measure will come as very welcome relief to families with young children across Meath. You never know when your child will get sick and this can have a big impact on a family’s monthly budget, especially if medication is required on top of the GP’s fee. 

“It is important to note that additional funding has been secured to introduce free GP care for young children, and it is not being facilitated through cutbacks in other areas. The introduction of this measure is the first step towards providing free GP care to everyone, under Universal Health Insurance. We are determined to revolutionise the crumbling health service we inherited from Fianna Fáil on coming to Office two years ago and transform it into one of the best healthcare systems in the world. 

“In providing free GP care to children aged five and under, we can ensure that children going to the doctor early, rather than to the hospital late. This will relieve pressure on hospitals and contribute to better health overall.

“A number of other measures were included Budget 2014, which will come as good news to young families across Meath. No new changes have been made to child benefit and class sizes have been maintained. To cope with our growing school-going population, 1,400 new teachers will be recruited in the coming year, and the special education budget has been protected. 

“For the majority of people, when they open their first pay check in January to pay for their first grocery shop, to fill up their car with petrol or diesel to go to work or to eat out at a local restaurant - they will see no change as a result of this Budget. Middle income families have made an enormous contribution to our getting our public finances back on track and it is only right that, despite current constraints, the State can provide these families with vital services such as free GP care.” 

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